Why Less is More — Nootropics and Microdosing

“But that wasn’t a microdose!”

Why Nootropics and Microdosing are trending?

It’s the drug habit your life science director will love. Consuming teeny-tiny amounts of nootropics could bring life-changing benefits. It might make you smarter, more focused, and more energetic. And more people in life science are doing it.

It’s called “microdosing,” where doses of nootropics are so low they seldom produce whole-body effects. At such low doses, you are unlikely to feel “high.” (That’s not the intention.) Or disorientated. Or paranoid. Instead, you might feel more creative. Or more productive.

Someone in the office next to you could have “microdosed” this morning. There’s no way you would know. Not really. But few people in life sciences are talking about this topic. Here’s everything you wanted to know but were too afraid to ask…

What is Microdosing? What are Nootropics?

20 tablets of yellow Lexapro (Escitalopram) 10-20 mg pills lying on table

People have been microdosing for years, and not just in life sciences. The practice dates back to the ’60s, where people administered small quantities of LSD to heighten alertness and creativity. By “small quantities,” we mean anywhere from 10 to 20 micrograms, about a tenth of a recreational dose — not enough to make one hallucinate.

This phenomenon spread through Silicon Valley. Bill Gates microdosed. Steve Jobs microdosed. And now this trend has hit life sciences. Only this time around, it’s not LSD or other psychedelics.

Introducing: Nootropics. Also known as “smart drugs” or “cognitive enhancers.” It’s an umbrella term for a treasure trove of substances, supplements, and synthetics that could enhance cognitive and executive functions like:

  • Memory
  • Motivation
  • Productivity
  • Alertness
  • Creativity

There’s “little chance of addiction or negative side effects,” according to Healthline. Plus, popular nootropics include things you’ve (probably) tried in the past, such as caffeine. Instead of a morning Starbucks, “microdosers” consume small quantities of caffeine throughout the day, often with another nootropic called l-theanine, an amino acid found in tea leaves and Bay Bolete mushrooms. Proponents claim heightened focus, awareness, more energy, more endurance, and reduced stress. And no caffeine crash.

Experimenting with nootropics is a subjective experience. What works for one person might not work for another. Still, some people swear by nootropics for improving alertness. Or credit nootropics for getting their dream job.

Nootropics in Life Science

neurologic book by timothy leary sitting next to light blue coffee cup that is full

We’re hard-working people in life sciences. You’ll find us in the lab or the meeting room or on a Zoom call with a KOL who will be speaking at a CME meeting tomorrow. We’re constantly meeting people. We’re constantly talking. (Yes, even the introverts.) We have deadlines and deliverables. During the pandemic, some of us have never been busier…

So sometimes we need a brain boost. Or a perennial pick-me-up. Especially when that morning Starbucks doesn’t hit the spot. Could microdosing nootropics help us all become more productive, constructive human beings? Could it help us communicate with others more effectively?


Almost always. The FDA doesn’t control (or schedule) the most popular nootropics. But not all “nootropics” are nootropics, so choose a reputable vendor. (See below.)

Where Do You Buy?

Loads of places. Nootropics Depot, based in Arizona, is probably the biggest supplier. But there’s Pure Nootropics, HR Supplements, and many others. Your gym might even sell them.

Yes, you can have powerful brain-boosting substances delivered to your door in the time it takes for your next utility bill to arrive. And it’s all perfectly legal. So you don’t have to walk around the lab looking for a dealer.

Who Takes Them?

Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof Nutrition, says nootropics “unlock your true brain.” Other famous proponents include entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, comedian-turned-podcast-host Joe Rogan, and, perhaps, Barack Obama.

Tell Me More

Bacopa Monnieri

What? An ancient herb in Ayurvedic medicine.
Why? Could enhance brain function, improve memory, and enhance reactions.

Rhodiola Rosea

What? An adaptogenic herb.
Why? Could reduce feelings of burnout and improve mood.


What? A synthetic drug available over-the-counter.
Why?Could speed up brain processing and promote brain cell growth.


What? Another synthetic drug available over-the-counter
Why? Could help the brain recover quicker and improves cognitive functions.

Final Word

There is a nootropics boom in life sciences. These so-called (and very legal) brain boosters could bring various cognitive benefits for professionals in our sector — improved productivity, increased memory, alertness, you name it. As always, do your research.

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